Tomorrow’s Engineer’s Week, running between the 5th and 9th of November, is part of the Tomorrow’s Engineers Programme, led by the engineering community, to provide a platform for to inspire more young people to consider a career in engineering.
As an engineering discipline, the field of Acoustic Consultancy is wide ranging and often seen as something of a mystery to many. Cole Jarman Consultant Jo Lacy, aims to demystify what a typical week in the life of a consultant entails:
“One constant in being a consultant, is variability. With that in mind, I have set out what a typical working week might entail, to provide an impression of what an acoustic consultant does day-to-day.
On Monday morning, I check my emails and look at the weather, I’m travelling to Nottingham today to undertake a noise and vibration survey. I check the equipment, pack it up and get on my way. I’ll be at the site for a few hours undertaking the noise and vibration measurements at the site; we’ve got roads and a train line near to it so there is plenty to be aware of. When the survey is complete, I’ll head back to the office with the equipment, get the data downloaded on to the computer, pack away the kit and head home for the day.
Tuesday morning, now all of my data has been downloaded, it’s a day of calculations to feed into an assessment to support a planning application. I have to be sure there won’t be any noise or vibration issues associated with the new building. There’s a need to specify noise mitigation measures in the form of acoustic ventilation and glazing so the performance requirements for these must be determined. Vibration isolation of the building’s foundations is also a potential consideration. It’s always a fun problem solving exercise, determining what works best for a particular site.
Wednesday, my slower day this week, brings writing the report for the site I assessed yesterday. It’s a relatively straight forward one to write up this time, so only takes the morning, getting sent to a colleague to check at around lunchtime. This afternoon, I’m reviewing some calculations for a plant noise assessment that a different colleague has completed. As consultants, the accuracy and correctness of our work is paramount so a thorough checking procedure is crucial.
Thursday brings design and assessment works for a residential development to my desk. We’ve completed surveys at the site of a proposed development, which has an A-road along one side. This site requires a noise contouring exercise to be undertaken which involves building a computer model of the proposed development, complete with existing roads, buildings and topographical features etc. The survey data is used to calibrate the noise sources defined within the computer model, along with the proposed layout of the new development. From this we generate a noise contour plot for the whole site, showing the noise levels at all relevant locations. This exercise allows us to accurately determine what ventilation and glazing requirements are needed to make the houses habitable and also to review noise levels in garden areas and determine where screening might be appropriate.
Friday is spent continuing to determine the ventilation and glazing requirements for the site from yesterday. I also consider whether the use of roadside screens or bunds may reduce the glazing and ventilation specification requirements for the site. The focus is on finding a practicable, cost effective solution for our client that works acoustically. My report from Wednesday has come back with some minor comments to address. I make the required amendments before sending it to our client for their review. Casual lunchtime today with my work colleagues and sounds like I might be travelling to Great Yarmouth next week to undertake another survey, I’d better buy another audiobook for the drive.
Every day has been different, and if I described another week, it would be completely different again; perhaps undertaking detailed acoustic design work for a new cinema, or providing guidance for the development of a new school, to name just a couple of examples. As mentioned before, the only constant, is variability. It can be hard work, but it’s a lot of fun and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Jo joined Cole Jarman in Manchester at the start of 2018, having completed his Masters in Acoustics and Bachelor of Engineering in Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford. During his studies, he has worked at festivals and shows across the country as a noise control engineer.
Growing up both performing and recording music, and having a fascination with physics, Acoustics naturally became an ideal field of study combining all three interests. Jo has particular experience with noise from live music and blast noise propagation prediction.
If you have any questions about what it is like to work as a consultant or think we may be able to assist on a particular project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.